Beautiful Villa Savoye

AS A MONUMENT TO MODERNISM, THE BUILDING POSSESSES A POETRY AND SENSITIVITY FULL OF IDEALISM. THE CAREFUL COMPOSITION OF LIVING SPACE AND INTENTION TO HARNESS NATURAL LIGHT, NOT TO MENTION THE BUILDING’S ICONIC AESTHETIC, STILL DEFINE MODERN ARCHITECTURE.

villasavoye_landscapeThe Villa Savoye, built in 1929 in Poissy, a rural area outside Paris, was Le Corbusier’s answer to a French country house. Given relatively few constraints by the Savoye family, Le Corbusier designed a building to embody the architectural theory he had evolved in practice and in his book, Towards an Architecture 1923. He was inspired by both the classical forms of ancient Greek architecture and the modern technologies that were shaping the world such as automobiles, airplanes and ocean liners.

villasavoye_landscape2.jpgThis project was the last in a series of private homes known as the ‘white villas’ built by Le Corbusier and his cousin and partner Pierre Jeanneret, which introduced a new form of luxury in which space itself, and its capacity for leisure, were the valuable commodities.

Of these, The Villa Savoye perhaps best embodies Le Corbusier’s architectural manifesto, the five points of architecture. The first, pilotis – slender pillars which raise the building off the ground, opening up more space for gardens and cars, made possible the second, a façade free of its usual load bearing function. Walls were no longer supporting structures but ‘membranes.’ This allowed the unimpaired design of the third, an open plan interior, and the fourth, ribbon windows to flood the interior with maximum light and to illuminate it evenly. A sliding window system patented by Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret was intended to offer superior ventilation, as well as give access to the fifth, a flat roof which could serve as a terrace. A curved solarium crowns the structure, the brightest increment in the layered design. This symbiotic relationship of these five features gives some insight into what could otherwise be a somewhat alienating notion of Le Corbusier’s, the famous concept of a house as ‘a machine for living.’

villasavoye_landscape3-outdoor.jpgUnfortunately the Villa Savoye presented its residents with its own host of problems, despite its pioneering design. Each autumn, as the windows ushered in a warm vista of seasonal colour, the family would write repeatedly to Le Courbusier, begging him to make ‘habitable,’ what proved to be a damp and chilly building. They complained of ‘raining’ in the hall, on the ramp and in the bathroom. The loud drumming of rain on the bathroom skylight kept them awake at night, heat escaped through the long stretches of glazing and the heating system was both insufficient and a further cause of flooding.

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Much of this was perhaps due to the fact that the technology involved was not fully developed at the time. As a monument to Modernism, the building possesses a poetry and sensitivity full of idealism. The careful composition of living space and intention to harness natural light, not to mention the building’s iconic aesthetic, still define modern architecture. Nonetheless, the discomforts they had suffered ultimately led the Savoye family to decide against restoring the property after the 2nd World War, when it was seized by German forces. About to be demolished by the local authorities to make way for a school, the building was rescued by architects and academics including Le Corbusier himself. Now a museum, restored closely to its original state, Villa Savoye is one of 17 of Le Corbusier’s buildings declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Credit: readcereal.com/

Beautiful Color Red

Being Valentine’s Day I have the color red on my mind. On Valentine’s Day, red is everywhere.

red-caveCave art paintings of Lascaux in France

If any color can stake a claim to be the oldest, it is red. We’ve been seeing red since our neolithic days. It is the most primary of primary colors – the very blood in our veins is red.

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So how did red become the color of love? 400 years ago in 17th-century France, red was a color of power. Red was always a color associated with palaces, with Versailles, in fact Louis XIV put a little red into every step he took. He was a man who was very proud of his legs. Known as having gorgeous legs and he wore all kinds of fashion that would show them off. Louis wore knee-length tight pants and beautiful silk stockings. His heels — which were quite high for a man — were not just red, but scarlet.

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Red was an expensive color in 17th-century France because at the time, the dye was made from a little bug found in Mexican cactus, the cochineal. Soon nobles all over Europe were painting their heels red. Red was chic, flashy… and expensive.

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Nilda and Acopia women dying yarn red

These white bugs produced a potent red dye so sought-after by artists and patrons that it quickly became the third greatest import out of the “New World” (after gold and silver), as explains Victoria Finlay in A Brilliant History of Color in ArtRaphaelRembrandt, and Rubens all used cochineal as a glaze, layering the pigment atop other reds to increase their intensity. A non-toxic source for red pigment, the cochineal bug is still used to color lipsticks and blush today.

The bottom fell out of the bug market in the middle of the 1800s, when synthetic dyes were invented. Previously, red was only for the rich who could afford the expensive insect dye. In some cultures, the privilege of wearing red was reserved exclusively for the powerful. When you saw someone wearing red in Japan or Italy, the person was of high status.

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Toulouse-Lautrec – The Box with the Golden Mask

Today Red has many faces and is the color of extremes. It’s the color of passionate love, seduction, violence, danger, anger, and adventure. Our prehistoric ancestors saw red as the color of fire and blood – energy and primal life forces – and most of red’s symbolism today arises from its powerful associations in the past.

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Felix Vallotton – La Chambre Rouge

Red can be a naughty color — red-light districts and bordellos. It is both the color of Satan and the color of the Roman Catholic Church. Red is often associated with divinity; medieval and renaissance paintings show Jesus and the Virgin Mary in red robes. Red is for happiness — Indian brides get married in red saris. Red for good luck — the one-month birthday of a Chinese baby is celebrated with red eggs.

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I’ll leave it with this though. In 1888, Vincent Van Gogh wrote that he “sought to express with red and green the terrible human passions”. Ancient, complex and representing extremes – red is nothing if not passionate. Perhaps Van Gogh would have seen red, should he have lived long enough to see the reds in his paintings starting to fade away.

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Vincent Van Gogh – Field of Poppies

 

 

 

Beautiful Art Exhibits

Cool Events taking place around the world.

Tatsuo Mayajima’s “Connect with Everything” installation at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia

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Few contemporary artists grapple with what it means to be human as profoundly as Japanese-born Tatsuo Miyajima, whose signature works are high-tech, immersive light installations that border on the mystical. “Tatsuo Miyajima―Connect with Everything,” the artist’s first solo show in the Southern Hemisphere, is on view at Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art, and is as comprehensive a retrospective as the works deserve.

Museum of Contemporary Art, 140 George St, The Rocks NSW 2000, Sydney, Australia; mca.com.au/miyajima. Through March 5.  

A Robert Rauschenberg Retrospective at the Tate Modern Switch House, London

Your excuse for a visit across the pond to inaugurate the Switch House – the Tate Modern’s new brick pyramid-tower extension designed by the same Swiss firm, Herzog & de Meuron, that transformed the massive Bankside Power Station into the enormously popular hub of modern and contemporary art – has arrived in the form of the first major retrospective of Robert Rauschenberg since the American artist’s death in 2008.

Organized chronologically and in collaboration with New York’s MoMA, where it heads next spring, the show unfolds as a riveting narrative, journeying through the maverick’s many seminal creative moments, from his striking blue monoprints and his extraordinary Combines.

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Tate Modern, Bankside, London; tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/robert-rauschenberg. Through April 2.

Cy Twombly’s Retrospective at the Centre Pompidou, Paris

Cy Twombly, an artist who was born in Lexington, Virginia in 1928 and moved to Italy in the 1950s, is in many ways very French. In the Salle des Bronzes Antiques at the Louvre museum in Paris, where ancient Greek armour waits silently for wars that will never come again, the room’s vast ceilingis painted by Twombly with a bright expanse of blue, its intensity illuminated by silver and gold suns and moons as if the light of the Mediterranean were infusing the museum with desire and danger. So it is fitting that France is staging the first Cy Twomblyretrospective since his death. On the top floor of the Centre Pompidou, the helmeted Greek heroes have returned. Gore, love and revenge stain the walls.

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Centre Pompidou, Place Georges-Pompidou, Paris; centrepompidou.fr/en. Through April 24.

R.H. Quaytman’s “Morning: Chapter 30″ exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

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MOCA presents R. H. Quaytman, Morning: Chapter 30, the first major museum survey of work by New York–based artist R. H. Quaytman. The poetic, hypnotic, and singular work of R.H. Quaytman is on display in full splendor at “R.H. Quaytman, Morning: Chapter 30” at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the first major museum survey of the NYC-based artist. Made up of 22 gesso-and-silkscreen paintings, the series “30 Chapters” is, like the 29 “chapters” that preceded it, a site-specific project that in this case takes inspiration from another site-specific work, Michael Heizer’s earthwork Double Negative, an excavation on the eastern side of Mormon Mesa in southern Nevada that resulted in two massive trenches. Museum of Contemporary Art, 250 South Grand Ave, Los Angeles; moca.org/exhibition/r-h-quaytman-morning. Through February 6. 

The Opening of the Sumida Hokusai Museum, Tokyo

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Despite the rich history of art in Japan, it is ukiyo-e (“pictures of the floating world”) — woodblock prints from the 18th and 19th centuries depicting everything from kimono-clad courtesans and kabuki actors to animals, plants, and dramatic, often romantic landscapes — that first comes to mind when one thinks of Japanese art, and that has had the most lasting influence on artists of every nationality (including 19th-century masters James Whistler, Edgar Degas and Mary Cassatt, among others).

Now there’s a museum devoted entirely to the country’s best-known practitioner, Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849), whose formal, masterfully composed works have, alongside those of rival Hiroshige (1797-1858), come to define the genre. Designed by Pritzker Prize–winning architect Kazuyo Sejima, the angular Sumida Hokusai Museum just opened in Tokyo’s Sumida Ward, where the legendary master lived and produced the bulk of his work in the mid 19th century. Don’t miss Great Wave off Kanazawa from his seminal “36 Views of Mt. Fuji” series.

Sumida Hokusai Museum, 2-7-2 Kamezawa, Sumida-ku, Tokyo; hokusai-museum.jp

Louise Bourgeois’s “Structures of Existence: The Cells” at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Copenhagen

Louisiana’s big autumn exhibition Louise Bourgeois. Structures of Existence: The Cells, presents one of the most striking and influential visual artists of the twentieth century. Over a period of some 70 years Louise Bourgeois (1911, Paris – 2010, New York) created a comprehensive oeuvre spanning a wide range of materials and forms, emotions and moods.

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Beautiful Hermès Reuse – Atelier Petit H

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In an unassuming street in Pantin, the north-eastern Parisian suburb that has become something of an industrial hub for the luxury fashion industry, you’ll find the petit h workshop. Hidden off a leafy courtyard, the open-plan, well-lit room is a laboratory of sorts that houses the exceptional métiers of Hermès under the one roof. The mission here is to transform discarded items from the Maison’s many ateliers, and craft treasures from the odds, ends and off-cuts with the help of a roster of artists and designers like Christian Astuguevielle, Parme Marin, and Isabelle Leloup.
Read the interview here via Cereal Magazine

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petith_portrait4petith_portrait3PetitH_portrait5.jpgpetith_portrait6petith_portrait8PetitH_portrait9.jpgpetith_portrait10PetitH_portrait11.jpgpetith_portrait12Photography: Rich Stapleton
By: Alice Cavanagh

Beautiful Photos Of Paris

Have you ever got totally lost in blog as if you fell through a rabbit
hole? You try to sleep or do something else more productive but as
you flip through the pages the images are so enchanting you just
can’t stop yourself. This happened to me when I discovered
photographer Hannah Lemholt. Her images are breathtaking,
as if in a dream. I am so drawn to her photos of Paris. I hope you
enjoy them as much as I do. Sweet Dreams.
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Photos by Hannah Lemholt

 

Beautiful School

Atelier 208 designed Pajot’s School canteen, located
in the town of Pontault-Combault, France.  The
design of the building is the expression of its structure
and function. From a steel and concrete frame, the
envelope speaks through a child’s language and plays a
major role in the way children perceive the space.
The origami like roof folds and unfolds in order to
allow light to emphasizing imagination, creativity
and a certain ingenuity.

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